Example of effect

I managed to make the drop shadow, and I think I know how to get the ~1px bright outline/stroke, but how would you do this dark/bright effect around the edge and across the hole path?

  • A very thin white outline?
    – Jongware
    Sep 21 '14 at 21:55
  • Yes, I know how to do that. I'm talking about the light on the upper part and the shadow at the bottom (both inside the note)
    – ib2
    Sep 21 '14 at 22:07
  • Ah sorry. Right- "Bevel and emboss" is (still!) not an option in Illustrator. I've seen this done with a 3D extrusion, though.
    – Jongware
    Sep 21 '14 at 22:15
  • Google 'gradient mesh' - then play about
    – Mark Read
    Sep 22 '14 at 0:40

The answer is (as Mark Read said in the comment) to use the Gradient Mesh tool.

Click where the points are shown in this image. You can then select them with the Direct Selection tool and set each points' individual color. The ones on the top has a lighter color, and the bottom ones is darker.

enter image description here

enter image description here


By using mnxd's solution as a base, you can make this really manageable by using the Appearance palette.

  1. select your shape;
  2. give it a gradient with a light top and a dark bottom, just like in mnxd's solution;
  3. open the appearance palette and select the existing fill;
  4. choose Add New Fill from the palette options or click the duplicate selected item button:
    duplicate selected item button
  5. select the top fill in the palette;
  6. give it a non-gradient fill colour somewhere between the two gradient edges;
  7. choose Effect > Path > Offset Path... and key in a negative value. The preview option will allow you to get your bearings for an appropriate offset.
  8. re-select the top fill and add a blur to it with Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur...;
  9. play around with the gradient to improve the effect.

Big pro of this method is that, once done, you can drag your object into the Graphic Styles palette to make the effect a style you can apply to any object.


Two Objects, one has a gradient, the other one is slightly smaller (subtract the stroke outline from the original object to achieve this Use the Offset Path effect with a negative value) and has a feather effect.

enter image description here

Try out different different feather values to make the edge softer/harder

enter image description here

  • Nice solution! It would be even better to have it be a single object with two different fills (using the Appearance palette). The top fill can then have a transformation and a blur applied.
    – Vincent
    Nov 21 '14 at 11:06
  • I didn’t think of that. I just tried it out and it would be great to only have a single object but i cant figure out how to shrink the fill on top. Transform would work with basic geometric forms, but for more complicated forms you wont get a uniform edge, that has the same width everywhere. Do you know how to make this work?
    – mnxd
    Nov 21 '14 at 11:30
  • Effect > Path > Offset Path will do the trick.
    – Vincent
    Nov 21 '14 at 11:38
  • 1
    works like a charm. Thank you! That is a great solution, you should post it as an answer.
    – mnxd
    Nov 21 '14 at 11:51

How about this?

  1. bring your duplicated shape to the front.
  2. add black-white gradient to the shape.
  3. change blending mode to soft light.

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